A Donegal woman is counting her blessings after following an advert in a newsletter to go back to education and find herself a new job.
Mary Duggan from Gortahork, aged 54, was a stay at home mother for 10 years – until she found herself on a new path to upskill with Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
A Business Administration course was all Mary needed to get the confidence boost to go back into the workforce. Now, she is working locally and is eager to develop her skills more.
Four years ago, Mary set herself the goal of going back to work after her son Callum turned 10.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m so long out of work, where do I even start?’” Mary said.
The answer came to her when she saw an advert for a business administration course in a local newsletter.
Mary’s husband Stevie was also looking for employment at the time, so they decided to take a leap of faith together.
The two-year Business Administration course was a Level 5 award which provided students with knowledge on ICT, bookkeeping, customer service, Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) skills, health and safety along with an ECDL certificate.
Mary admits that the first weeks in September were intense.
“I hadn’t done any studying since I left school after the Leaving Cert,” Mary said. “It was intense because I didn’t know anything about computers but our teacher Sharon McGee was very good and so patient with us.”
“Looking back I won’t say it was easy but I’m glad I did it now.
“It was a big confidence booster and you’re so chuffed when you get the exam results.”
Mary seized the opportunity within her work experience module to gain practical experience in a local business – the Gweedore Bar in Falcarragh. And she has secured work there ever since.
“I do a bit of computer work at the bar but the customer service skills really come into this job. I love talking to customers and my skills come in handy if needed,” Mary said.
“You are always learning and coming up with ideas yourself.”
Mary’s dedication to her work was recognised last year when she won first place in the Cloughaneely’s Irish-language Employee of the Year Awards.
Alongside her Business Administration qualifications, she also gained a personal confidence boost from learning with Donegal ETB.
“I was out of work for so long before this but the course had you meeting people. Stevie and I are still friends with the people we did the course with. Plus I had given up driving after having my son but I went back to driving again last year too,” Mary said.
Stevie’s work experience also led him to be employed at Sweeney’s Garage in Falcarragh.
The couple were able to balance studying with childcare as the course timetable suited parents well. They could drop Callum at school in the morning, be at the Gortahork FET Centre for 9.30am and be home again early in the afternoon before school finished.
“I would really recommend these courses to mums, especially when, like myself, they don’t know where to look when they want to get back to work,” she said.
“Then when you apply for a job you can show you’ve done a course and you’re ready.”
Donegal ETB provides a range of full-time business administration, ECDL and ICT, courses in its Gortahork, Ballyshannon, Buncrana, Donegal Town, Letterkenny and Milford Further Education and Training Centres. Recruitment is now open for September.
Information is available on its website course finder: https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/course-finder/ using administration, ECDL or ICT as keywords.
For more information, contact Donegal ETB by emailing email@example.comTags: